Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Countering Stress

I have to warn you this post might be a bit rambling. But I’ve had a recent issue with my blood pressure meds that I should have straightened out by tomorrow, and I find writing to be an effective counter to stress. So work with me here.

This morning was aMAzing. I slept in to late morning – my husband covered the kids. The kids played and watched movies in their pajamas past noon. OK, I’m not going to lie . . . we did pretty much the same thing yesterday, so it was our SECOND amazing summer morning. The stack of newspapers piled next to the couch is finally read and recycled. I continue to get my news the retro way because of the dog. She lives for that moment when she prances back through the open door, paper held firmly in her jaws, maybe a celebratory toss or two for maximum effect. If for some reason there’s no paper, no problem . . . she knows where to find one (don’t make me explain that I give it back if I can figure out where it came from).

Aside from reading newspapers, I didn’t accomplish everything I planned to yesterday. Added about three vertical feet of folded clothes to the laundry table. Cleaned the kitchen. Searched for jobs. Put away six hundred toys. Gave the kids time-outs and lectures and bribes to get their help. Shopped for food. But it’s not enough . . . you saw the pictures. This is serious. Two factors that make housework especially pointless are children and remodeling. A drywall dust storm hit my bedroom yesterday and left a high concentration of tools. And there’s MACHINERY. I’m not even going to describe the dog hair.

I was motivated this morning but unsure of where to start. I HAVE to have a garage sale soon. You can’t even walk through most of the garage because of the tubs of leftover eBay merchandise as well as sacks and sacks of clothes and outgrown baby equipment and random household stuff that I’ve collected from my home and others for the ever elusive garage sale. But what keeps holding me back – besides obligations on the weekends – is there’s SO MUCH JUNK still distributed throughout the rest of the house that it only makes sense to get the house thinned out first. It’s going to be tricky to carve out a weekend this summer for the sale, and once summer is over, it’s back to teaching on the weekends. So I’ve got to make more progress.

With today’s first cup of coffee in hand, I stared at the laundry table, food-smeared kitchen, and cluttered stairs. I wondered out loud where I should start. Daisy answered quickly, “Take a shower.” Good idea. I made the mistake of buying deodorant at Whole Foods. Plus, I was hoping to get energized. I’m feeling rundown, and the uncertainty of my financial situation is getting to me again in a relentlessly stressed out way.

I cleaned for more than three hours then took Daisy to aikido. I was looking forward to going because there’s something special about that studio. It’s on one of the busiest corners of town, but inside, it’s a sanctuary. I find the teacher’s talks with the kids to be relaxing, and the parents are invited to practice the art of being attentive observers. I have never felt so refreshed at the end of one of my kids’ classes. Our marriage counselor actually recommended this place for the whole family, but I don’t do activities that require outfits.

You may recall that Daisy was in karate a few months back. We stopped going after schedule conflicts for several weeks, and I saw the opportunity to switch to aikido. Daisy was not completely sold. After the first class, she complained, “Mom, I just want to fight someone or break something. I want to do karate!” I talked her into giving aikido and harmony a chance. It’s been six weeks now, and she’s signed up for a week of aikido summer camp with brush calligraphy, Japanese weapons practice, and sushi. I’m thrilled.

But aikido didn’t do it for me today, mainly because I had to take squirmy little Violet. I normally trade little sister care with another parent. Violet was jealous when she saw the aiki games and spent some time logging her most common complaint: “It’s not fai-ya!” Ssshh! You’re harshing my attentive observation time.

We stopped by the post office on the way home. I was mailing something to a friend and wondered if I should grab the quick note I had written out of the flat rate envelope, which seemed a little junior high. Oh whatever. I sealed the envelope awkwardly into a misshapen rectangle. I tried to fix it, ripping the envelope. I found a roll of packing tape at the front of the line and stood off to the side to seal it, but the tape wasn’t the type you can rip off. I attempted to get a piece of tape off the roll several times, stabbing it with my keys and repeatedly getting it twisted and crumpled before I could use it. Finally, I got some tape on the package, but it wasn’t enough. There was some violent key stabbing before the envelope was mostly sealed. It wasn’t pretty but it would do. Sweat pouring down my face, I turned around to smiles and chuckles from the people waiting in line. They had no idea they were looking at an experienced eBay shipper.

The short story is I’m tired from a busy month but have an increasing need to get organized without neglecting assorted duties. Maybe I’m not so smooth but I’m determined to get the job done.


picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/migrainechick/4653476618/in/photostream/

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